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Number of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded 4 lakh; if the war doesn't stop, numbers can reach up to 7 million: Ukraine envoy to India

New Delhi : Ambassador of Ukraine to India, Dr Igor Polikha on Monday said that the number of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded 4 lakh as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to evolve rapidly. Speaking at a press conference here in New Delhi, Polikha said," The number of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded 4 lakh. If the war is not stopped, the number can reach up to 7 million. There are very long queues on the border. Lakhs of Ukrainians are standing in queues, trying to cross the border." Regarding the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine, he said that "India's priority is to evacuate students, our priority is to stop the war and exert pressure on Russia." Polikha added that he is having the same information which the Indian officials have and he is in regular contact with them. He said that the country has suffered many civilian casualties due to the Russian military operation. "We are suffering a lot of civilian casualties. According to official information of our Ministry, already 16 children were killed from bombings, shellings, and so on as a result of Russian peace-fighting operation," said Ambassador of Ukraine to India.Giving an update on the ongoing conflict, Polikha said the Air space of Europe was closed for Russian airplanes on Sunday. "The Russian economy is crippling every day. Russia is having absolutely unprecedented casualties. Approximately 5,300 Russian soldiers have lost their lives," he claimed. Polikha also requested all foreign partners of Ukraine to exert pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "stop the war." "Today, our delegation went to hold the first round of peace talks. Continuous shelling, bombing took place even during the peace talk," he said. The development comes amid the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have begun in the Gomel region of Belarus on Monday, Belarusian media report. The office of the country's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Kyiv's delegation includes the Minister of Defense, Alexey Reznikov, the head of the ruling Servant of the People faction, David Arakhamia, and the deputy Foreign Minister Nikolay Tochitskiy, as well as others. Moscow launched a full-scale military attack, last week, and its troops are positioned on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv. The Ukrainian side agreed to hold talks with their Russian colleagues on Sunday after initially refusing to send a team of representatives over disagreements on location and preliminary terms. Kyiv argued that it was inappropriate to hold crisis discussions in Belarus, claiming that Moscow's armed forces were using the territory to carry out attacks. Minsk, however, has insisted that its troops are not facilitating in the military operation.

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